NOWHERE PEOPLE

In photos: The chaos in the lives of millions of poor Indians under a lockdown

Stranded indefinitely..
Stranded indefinitely..
Image: AP PHOTO/ZOYA THOMAS LOBO
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There seems to be no end to Indian migrants’ woes.

The extended nationwide lockdown to check the spread of coronavirus has meant that the country’s 470 million internal migrants remain trapped far away from their homes.

This uncertainty has only deepened the panic and chaos among them. India’s financial capital, Mumbai, saw thousands of migrants gather at a city train station on April 14, expecting the lockdown to end—but prime minister Narendra Modi extended it till May 3. In the city of Surat, Gujarat, hundreds of them resorted to protest a few days ago.

The central government has announced 5 kilograms of extra foodgrains and a kilogram of pulses free of cost for three months for every Indian enrolled in the public distribution system. However, the system itself may not cover all in the first place. Meanwhile, several state governments have set-up shelter homes for migrants.

Yet, it is far from easy for millions who are living in the open and often going hungry.

Police cracks down on protesting migrants in Mumbai.
Mumbai Police personnel disperse migrants protesting against the extension of nationwide lockdown on April 14.
Image: AP PHOTO.ZOYA THOMAS LOBO
Footwear of migrant protesters chased away by Mumbai Police.
Footwear of protesters chased away by Mumbai Police.
Image: REUTERS/FRANCIS MASCARENHAS
Migrants at Yamuna river bank in Delhi
Homeless labourers on the banks of River Yamuna in New Delhi. The government is moving them to shelter homes.
Image: AP PHOTO/ALTAF QADRI
Daily wagers wait on the Yamuna bank river to be transferred to shelter homes
Daily wage workers on the banks of the Yamuna, awaiting their transfer to shelter homes.
Image: REUTERS/ANUSHREE FADNAVIS

Over 136 million non-agricultural jobs are at risk in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to estimates released by the National Sample Survey and the Periodic Labour Force Surveys, on March 31. Casual labourers working on rural farmlands and urban centres on construction sites are the worst hit. They have no option but to depend on state for food assistance.

India’s homeless migrants line up to collect food in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, amid the lockdown.
India’s homeless migrants line up to collect food in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, amid the lockdown.
A migrant child collects leftover paddy.
A migrant’s child collects leftover paddy from an empty wholesale market in Chandigarh.
Image: REUTERS/AJAY VERMA
A homeless man sleeps on a cart in Delhi.
A homeless man sleeps on a cart in Delhi.
Image: REUTERS/ADNAN ABIDI
Migrants in Andhra Pradesh being moved to shelter homes.
Migrants in Andhra Pradesh trying to return to their native villages.
Image: AP PHOTO/MAHESH KUMAR